Tag Archives: Asheville

Do humility and logic go together?

3 May

 

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way. Ps 25:8-9

Danger alert!

Logic can destroy humility.

How can that be?  I thought clear rational thinking was the entire point of this blog?

Yes, but learning to use skills of rational, deductive reasoning can cause us to grow smug. And SMUGNESS reeks of pride, arrogance and insufferableness.

I am a Biblical Christian who loves words and takes God’s Word seriously. Therefore, I believe whole-heartedly that the original text of the Bible is accurate and free from error. Why?  because I accept as true that God superintended its transmission to the authors through His divine Spirit. After all, the God who SPOKE the universe into being can certainly insure the accuracy of the original writings.  Beside that, He even says that His Word is true. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17

Here’s the snare.  I can be arrogant and prideful when I think I am right.  Why do I think my views are correct?

  • Because I am a born-again Christian who has been given a new and different nature
  • Because I have learned some logical thinking principles, which empower me

God, however, isn’t content to leave me equipped with ‘right’ thinking, whether content or method.

The message God seems to be sending me through daily Bible reading and various prayers is that since we humans are created beings, there is NO way in God’s kingdom that we finite creatures can be all-seeing and all-knowing.  Those ‘omni’ qualities belong to God alone who is perfect.

How that should translate into my life and perhaps yours, if you agree, is that we can be wrong!  Maybe our conclusions from the evidence WE SEE and KNOW are rightly deduced, but the presupposition behind the syllogism is huge.  Namely that we see and know ALL the facts.  Could there be, perhaps, more to meet MY eye and awareness?

I work amidst kind and friendly colleagues in a middle school in Asheville, NC.  I’m the only one, I imagine, who doubts some of the ‘givens’ about global warming and its attendant problems.  What I’m trying to practice during our lunchtime, round-table informal chats is to listen for the BEST arguments to support their views regarding this climate situation.

Wanting to understand the other side depends first on the recognition that I might not be right. Oh, maybe given the circumstances and facts I’ve seen and read, I can make a case for what I believe and why.  But the possibility DOES exist that I might actually have a blind spot.

This God-worked humility in me, through life’s hardships and knocks and my daily reading of His Word, has initiated a less sure, less-exalted view of how ‘infallible’ or correct I might be.

I believe, that our world needs more ‘Logical Joes and Janes’, but ones who humble themselves enough to listen with care to others’ views.

Bullying in place of argumentation

11 May

HB2  I live in North Carolina outside the town of Asheville.  I read the daily newspaper, especially the editorial page and letters to the editor.

The clear majority of published letter writers caustically and sarcastically attacks the predominately Republican state government that passed House Bill 2 (HB2), which then was signed, into law by Governor Pat McCrory.

What has ensued from that legislative event has been mostly manipulative bullying (or bullying manipulation) by entertainers and companies such as Bruce Springsteen and PayPal.

If one supports the bill, one is automatically branded a bigot. And the labeling is delivered via shouting.  Where is the reasoned argumentation?  There is none.  No space is allowed for civil and thoughtful discourse.

So what happens when one framing of an issue is repeated loudly and often enough?

Nazi Joseph Goebbels might not have been the first person to arrive via inductive reasoning at this practical reality, but chillingly, his conclusion was born out in the Nazi horrors.”If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” http://www.HolocaustResearchProject.org. 

In the current NC uproar, I would substitute LBGTQ movement supporters for ‘the State’.

The other day I read the latest issue of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis’.  This publication reprints speeches of notable visitors to the conservative institution.  I knew absolutely nothing about the baseball legend Ty Cobb. Nonetheless, what I DID learn reading this pamphlet was how naïve I might be to trust what I hear reported by ‘everyone’.   Apparently it has been common knowledge for a couple of generations since Mr. Cobb’s death that he was a racist, violent and unkind ‘scumbag,’ if nothing else.

But….the facts don’t bear this out.  The historian who set about to write an even more salacious biography of the 20th century sports ‘hero’ found the truth to be more interesting than current (that is, current since Mr. Cobb’s death in 1961) documentation.

For a brief look at what the truth actually is regarding Ty Cobb, read for yourself:   Ty Cobb – how history reports lies

Learning about the injustice done to a 20th century iconic figure has reinforced in my mind the desperate need for clear-thinking and kind logical Janes and Joes.  Friends, there IS truth.  And as people made in God’s image, we are called to look for, understand and argue for the truth, but ALWAYS in a winsome and grace-filled manner. Browbeating another person is NOT logic.

May God help us to major in the ‘kind and logical’ rather than seeking always to be right and logical, at a cost to human dignity.  It is arrogant to assume we see the Truth 100 % accurately.

 

 

Logical Gal and the Fallacy of Division

22 Nov

XYZ is an efficient company, therefore, Joe Blow who works there must likewise be efficient.

Ah, but must he?  Maybe the organization is SO well run, that it can compensate for the drag that a poor-performing employee might add.  Welcome to Fallacy Friday and a trap we can fall into from time to time – the Fallacy of Division.

By definition, this error in thinking occurs when we identify the attributes of a larger whole and assign the same ones to its constituent parts.   It could be that a member of the whole shares the same qualities, but it’s faulty thinking to assume that is always the case.  Consider the color palate.  You might have a blob of black paint.  Is every drop of paint black?  My colleague, the art teacher, tells me that mixing bits of all the colors makes for a blackish brown yucky color.

Many other examples abound and are equally false.

So what’s the big deal, other than the possibility that the assumptions might not be true?

It’s the curse of expectations.  Suppose that  I’m familiar with Starbucks and their corporate culture  to train efficient AND personable baristas.  If I commit the Fallacy of Division, I can set myself up for disappointment. When I stop by one of the ubiquitous cafés and an employee is cold to me, then I’m likely to feel less satisfied. I’ve assumed that an intentional corporate value is held by each individual.  (unlike the expectation of some who travel to New York City or Paris and are braced to run into ‘rude’ people)

Another example we can look to is the pleasing musicality of an orchestra, or the satisfying visual treat of an Impressionist painting like this canvas by Georges Seurat.

The ensemble of paint dots or musical instruments working together produce a result that can’t be divided. That means isolating one violin playing its part might be boring.  Or 50 painted pointy strokes might not have any pattern.  But 20,000 points of color actually create a recognizable design.

I live in the greater Asheville area in Western North Carolina.  This artsy town is known for some questionable moral values and very liberal political views.  But we live here, too.  And we’re fairly conventional and Biblical in our assessment of right and wrong . We also  hold a mixture of politically conservative and libertarian views.

A quick passing judgment might look like this:

Asheville is a liberal, artistic,  fit, laid-back, ‘foody’, sexually-progressive town.

Logical Gal lives in Asheville

Therefore, Logical Gal must also be a liberal, artistic, fit, laid-back, sexually-progressive ‘foody’

Not so. SOME of those adjectives might apply.  But you would be incorrect to assume that every citizen of Asheville can be described in the same way as the town itself. (I’ll leave you to sort out a full description of Logical Gal)